Eagerly awaited by one of the biggest crowds to hit the Pyramid stage all weekend, Dolly Parton took to the stage in a white rhinestone jumpsuit, kicking off her set with a lively ‘Baby I’m Burning’.
Dolly kept the crowd entertained in between songs with anecdotes about growing up in the Smoky Mountains, Tenessee, with an extended family she described as “randy hillbillies”.
The first big crowd sing-along came when Dolly broke into ‘Jolene’. She explained that the song was inspired by real events in her life, but, ever upbeat, she laughed that she would never have made so much money had she not been inspired to write it.
Not only was Dolly’s entire outfit encrusted with rhinestones, but all of her instruments as well – including a jewelled sax, with which she entertained the crowd with a brief rendition of the Benny Hill theme.
Keen to pay homage to the legendary festival, Dolly broke out into an impromptu rap about the mud, inviting the crowd to join in on an enthusiastic chorus of ‘MUD MUD MUD MUD MUD!’ to which she playfully sang “up to our buns in all this crud!”
Whilst the set was not short of crowd-pleasing hits such as ‘Islands In The Stream’ and ‘Coat Of Many Colors’, Parton was also keen to remind people that she also had a new album to promote. New track ‘Blue Smoke’ won the crowd over so quickly that even Dolly herself commented on the number of people singing along.
The crowd was awash with Dolly lookalikes, with a sea of masks, t-shirts and huge backcombed blonde wigs bobbing along enthusiastically.
No Dolly Parton set would be complete without her 1980 hit ‘9 To 5’. Naturally the crowd sang along to every word as Parton held out her mic encouraging everyone to join in for the final chorus.
Few festival slots aside from the headline act offer an encore, but Dolly was a welcome exception to this rule, returning to the stage with special guest Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi who bounded out to accompany her on a reworking of their track ‘Lay Your Hands On Me’. She rounded things off with crowd favourite ‘I Will Always Love You’, which was dedicated to the audience.